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G20 citizens want ‘big picture’ tax policymaking, according to global survey from IFAC, ACCA, CA ANZ


28 Mar 2017


Euro & Finance

People in G20 countries want a more coherent international tax system

The average citizen of a G20 country is more concerned that their government cooperates with other countries for a more coherent international system, than competes for national interests such as increasing tax revenue or attracting multinational business, according to a new international survey.

G20 public trust in tax, compiled by ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), IFAC (the International Federation of Accountants) and CA ANZ (Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand), draws on the views of more than 7,600 people across the G20 countries, which in turn account for two-thirds of the world population, 85% of the Gross World Product and 75% of world trade.

“In the wake of Brexit, it is clear that the UK government will need to balance national interests with the global ‘big picture’ in future policymaking,” said Chas Roy-Chowdhury, head of tax at ACCA.

“The findings of this survey will be a useful resource in gauging global and local sentiment around tax policy.”

Respondents are largely supportive of tax incentives for a range of social and economic objectives

“While I wouldn’t support constant tinkering with the tax system by governments of G20 countries—as tax regimes need to be long-term and properly bedded down—it is interesting to see that people are highly in favour of utilising tax systems to achieve broad social and economic objectives,” added Roy-Chowdhury.

“More than three quarters (76%) of respondents are supportive of government tax incentives for green energy projects, 74% for retirement planning and 68% for infrastructure projects.”

There are diverse views on tax minimization throughout G20 countries

“The results of the survey indicated that in English-speaking countries of the G20, there was scepticism around tax minimisation,” said Russell Guthrie, Executive Director – External Affairs at IFAC.

“Respondents in Australia, Canada, the US and the UK tend to think that high income earners and multinational companies are not paying enough tax.”

People in G20 countries distrust politicians and the media when it comes to information about the tax system

“Two thirds of respondents distrust or highly distrust politicians on the topic of tax. They are cutting through the political rhetoric, and instead place their trust with the experts,” concluded Guthrie.

“Governments have work to do to rebuild public trust in tax systems. The accounting profession has always advocated for a ‘big picture’ approach to tax policymaking in the global economy—the complexity  that exists now is counterproductive to the public interest.”

Read the full report



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Notes to Editors

G20 public trust in tax: key findings

·         57% of people in G20 countries trust or highly trust professional tax accountants as a source of information about the tax system, professional tax lawyers (49%), and non-government organizations (35%).

·         People in G20 countries have become deeply distrustful of politicians when it comes to information about the tax system, with 67% either distrusting or highly distrusting politicians.

·         The public trust deficit extends to media (41% distrust or highly distrust), and business leaders (38%).

·         People want governments to put tax cooperation ahead of tax competition – 73% of people in G20 countries think it is important or very important for governments to cooperate with each other on tax policy to create a more coherent international tax system; and people are over 3.5x more likely to favour cooperation over competition.

·         73% people in G20 countries see paying taxes as mainly a matter of laws and regulation, and people are more than 2x more likely to see paying taxes as about laws and regulations, than morals and fairness.

·         While views diverge considerably across G20 countries, more people overall tend to believe high income earners, and local and multinational companies are paying a reasonable amount of tax in their country than think average or low income earners are paying enough.

·         There are also diverse views on tax minimization throughout G20 countries, although perhaps surprisingly 15% more people overall appear to view tax minimization as appropriate or highly appropriate for high income earners, and local and multinational companies than for average or low income earners.

·         58% of people in G20 countries believe the work of professional accountants is contributing to more efficient tax systems; 56% more effective tax systems; 49% more fair tax systems.


About the report

G20 public trust in tax is based on an online survey of more than 7,600 individuals across G20 countries, providing a representative sample of the population in each country with a confidence level of 95% and confidence interval of 5%.

Respondents include approximately 400 individuals residing in each of the following G20 nations: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United

States of America (the European Union, being the 20th G20 jurisdiction, was not sampled as a separate jurisdiction although EU Countries France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom are included in the study).

The sample in each country is balanced by demographics based on census data including age (targeting individuals of taxpaying age), gender, ethnicity, household income levels, and geographic location within the country.


About ACCA

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. It offers business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management.

ACCA supports its 188,000 members and 480,000 students in 178 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. ACCA works through a network of 100 offices and centres and more than 7,110 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through its public interest remit, ACCA promotes appropriate regulation of accounting and conducts relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence.

Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. It believes that accountants bring value to economies in all stages of development and seek to develop capacity in the profession and encourage the adoption of global standards. ACCA’s core values are aligned to the needs of employers in all sectors and it ensures that through its range of qualifications, it prepares accountants for business. ACCA seeks to open up the profession to people of all backgrounds and remove artificial barriers, innovating its qualifications and delivery to meet the diverse needs of trainee professionals and their employers. More information is here: